FOR GREGORY. He was not a VICTIM of ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, he was a HERO!
PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.
Friday, February 27, 2015
His response to my arrival was quite animated and made me feel warm all over.
The session got off to a difficult start as Katharine and Manny and I tried to get the table which Gregory would be using situated. We put it up on risers but it was too high and Gregory's chair still couldn't get under it.
Then we tried a hospital tray table on wheels but it was broken and couldn't be raised or lowered. The next tray table we tried worked perfectly but by then Gregory was a little frustrated, a little confused, a little angry, and mostly muscularly tense. Who would blame him.
First we worked at getting him to loosen up his arms and hands which seemed to take 5 or 10 minutes. When we began painting he responded well. There was a lot of down time thinking, and a lot of down time shut down because of to much stimulation. But when he got his hands moving it was with purpose.
Often we could not tell if he was looking at the paper while painting. Perhaps the feel of the slippery, sliding finger paint under his hands was enough. Also this time we tried loose thin plastic food handler gloves instead of the tightly fitting latex medical gloves. We couldn't tell if that helped or hindered. Next week we will go back to the medical gloves.
Also, for next time Katharine will try keeping the tubes of paint in the refrigerator to see if the tactile cold touch of the paint might help Gregory focus more closely on what his hands are doing.
During the session Gregory made appropriate comments or got the giggles. I call these moments of insight on his part, "Mini-Miracles!" I asked if he had a good time and I asked if he would like to paint again next week. He replied "Yes." to both.
In leaving I said, "Gregory, say 'Thank You' to Katharine."
"Yes," he replied.
I repeated this a couple times and each time he replied yes.
Finally, I said, "Thank You," several times. He said, "Thank You," back.
I said, "Katharine," several tines. He said, "Katharine," back.
Then he focused careful on Katharine's face and smiled and winked as if to say, "Katharine, you are in on my secret, aren't you!"